But wait a minute. EVERY profession has people who are good, mediocre and bad at what they do, so why do salespeople get such a bad rap?
The issue at hand is integrity – honesty – trustworthiness. Salespeople are perceived as dishonest and only out for themselves. Again, I have to point out that every profession has its share of dishonest, ruthless people. So why the overt animosity toward salespeople?
I suggest it’s caused by two things: frequency of exposure and self-preservation instincts. We interact with salespeople more often than any other profession. Compare how many times you talk with a librarian, a lawyer, a police officer, or an artist, vs. the number of salespeople you encounter each week. It only takes one “bad one” to taint our perception permanently.
If you are in sales of any kind – new sales acquisition, tele-sales, business development, fundraising, retail sales, MLM sales, service sales, management or (I’ll even go so far as to add) parenting – your success depends on how well you establish trust and gain buy-in from those who need what you have.
Trust can only be formed through actions. Words are not enough. As soon as a salesperson says “Trust me,” you don’t. If they say, “I have your best interest at heart,” it just raises suspicion. Trying to convince people to trust you with intellectual arguments doesn’t work.
Instead, try these ideas to make sure customers love hearing from your salespeople:
1. Do what you say you’ll do, when you say you’ll do it.
Something as simple as showing up on time, and sticking to the time frame allotted for the meeting, show that you are a person of your word.
2. Demonstrate that you care about the buyer, even to your own apparent detriment.
For example, be honest and point out when your offering falls short of the buyer’s expectations, letting them know you’d understand if they wanted to end the conversation.
3. Never pressure the buyer with deadlines you create.
One of the most widely used sales tactics is “the discount ends tomorrow” close. This is pressure that plays on the buyer’s emotions such that even if they buy in the moment, they often back out later. Instead, ask the buyer to tell you what the next steps are. When they say they are ready to buy, ask them, “Are you sure? I want you to be comfortable with your decision…”
I’ve only provided one example for each category, but don’t stop there. Look for ways that you can be a person of your word, demonstrate caring and concern for your buyers and eliminate undue pressure from your sales interactions. Your customers will reward you for it by buying from you.
Together we can change the reputation of salespeople, one conversation at a time. Let me know what’s working for you by dropping me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org